Folk and bluegrass fans gather for weekend of fun at Land Between the Lakes Pickin’ Party
by Hawkins Teague
Jun 13, 2007 | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Land Between the Lakes Homeplace hosted its annual Pickin’ Party over the weekend and a few hundred people came out for the laid-back festival

Special Events Coordinator Cindy Earl said she had wanted an informal atmosphere in which people not only watched the featured musicians, but could also feel free to play music on their own and learn some things as well. There were two open mic segments on the stage both days of the event, several “pickin’ areas,” where attendees could feel free to pull out their instruments and jam with each other. There were also several “pickin’ sessions” with the featured musicians at the tool barn, in which the performers demonstrated their musical techniques and the public was even encouraged to pick up an instrument and play along.

Five different took part in the pickin’ sessions, although a couple of them led two. These were the traditional group the Dixie Volunteers, solo folk artist Mark Dvorak, the Marshall County bluegrass band the McKendree Family and Clarksville’s Red River Breeze, who specialize in Celtic, Renaissance and old-time traditional music.

At the single pen house, Kelly and Susan Amsden demonstrated and sold their handcrafted mountain and hammered dulcimers and bowed psalteries. Kelly described a bowed psaltery as the “lazy man’s fiddle” because it is played with a bow but is much easier to play than a violin. The Amsdens live in Somerville, Tenn. and have run Amsden Handcrafted Instruments “officially” since 1996, though Kelly said he had made hammered dulcimers about 10 years prior to that as well. It’s a part-time business, he said, since his main job is in industrial controls.

“We go high-tech and low-tech,” he said.

While all the music was going on, young children could entertain themselves near the ox barn with antique and old-timey toys. Ward Narramore came there from Fort Campbell and said he and his wife and two children were enjoying themselves Sunday afternoon.

“We’re always looking for family activities,” he said.

For the rest of this story, read this week's Cadiz Record.
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